MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2006 Regular Session

To: Highways and Transportation

By: Senator(s) Hewes

Senate Bill 2663

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 63-5-52, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE THE REPEALER ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO ISSUE PERMITS FOR VEHICLES TRANSPORTING HEAVY EQUIPMENT WITH A NONDIVISIBLE LOAD; TO AMEND SECTION 27-19-81, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 63-5-52, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

63-5-52. * * * In addition to other permits authorized to be issued for overweight loads, the Department of Transportation is authorized to issue annual special permits for vehicles transporting heavy equipment with a nondivisible load having a gross vehicle weight of one hundred forty thousand (140,000) pounds or less. The permit shall be issued for the pulling unit and shall be nontransferable. The fee for such permit shall be Four Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($4,500.00) and the permit shall expire one (1) year from the beginning movement date. Movements under such permit shall be made under such safety and equipment restrictions as the department may establish. The department shall specify the routes over which such movements may be conducted.

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SECTION 2. Section 27-19-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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27-19-81. (1) No vehicle shall be registered by the State Tax Commission or by a tax collector, and no license tag whatsoever shall be issued therefor, where the gross weight of such vehicle exceeds the limits provided by law. In the event of an emergency requiring the hauling of a greater gross weight than permitted by law, the owner or operator of such vehicle shall obtain an excess weight authorization from the Mississippi Department of Transportation or local authority having jurisdiction of the particular road, street or highway before operating such vehicle on the highways of this state to haul such a gross weight over a route to be designated by the aforesaid department. It shall then be necessary for the owner or operator of the vehicle to obtain a permit from the Transportation Department, which shall be issued by the department under the same provisions as are provided for the issuance of trip permits under Section 27-19-79, but which permit shall likewise be obtained prior to the operation of such vehicle on the highways. No persons or agencies other than the Mississippi Department of Transportation shall have authority to issue the permits provided for in this section. The fee to be charged for such permits shall be computed in the same manner provided in Section 27-19-79 for each one thousand (1,000) pounds, or fractional part thereof, of gross weight above the licensed capacity of the vehicle, up to the maximum legal weights provided by this article on the roads to be traveled.

This subsection shall apply, but not be limited to, any tractor, road roller or road machinery used solely and specifically in road building or other highway construction or maintenance work.

For each one thousand (1,000) pounds, or fractional part thereof, in excess of the weight authorized by Sections 63-5-29 and 63-5-33 for any such vehicle or in excess of the limits set by the Transportation Department for specified roads and bridges, the fee shall be Five Cents (5) per one thousand (1,000) pounds, or fractional part thereof, for each mile traveled upon the highways of the state, except that the fee for manufactured housing modular units, residential or commercial, shall be Two Cents (2) per one thousand (1,000) pounds, or fractional part thereof, for each mile traveled upon the highways of the state. Provided, however, no permit shall be issued for a fee of less than Ten Dollars ($10.00).

The Transportation Department may provide for an annual permit which will allow pre-approved vehicles and loads to travel predesignated routes with self-issued permits. Under such self-issuance authority, the owner of the vehicle shall complete the permit in a format designated by the department, electronically transmit a copy to the department prior to the move, and ensure that a copy is in the possession of the operator. Vehicles having a gross weight exceeding the limits provided by law that have a nondivisible gross vehicle weight of ninety-five thousand (95,000) pounds or less, which are otherwise legal, shall not be restricted as to the hours of the day such vehicles may be operated on predesignated routes. The department shall bill the vehicle owner according to the provisions of the preceding paragraph. The department is authorized to modify predesignated routes at any time for cause, such as highway construction or hazardous highway conditions. The annual fee for the self-issuance permit authority obtained pursuant to this paragraph shall be Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) per owner, regardless of the number of vehicles which he will operate pursuant to such permit, in addition to any other fees required by this section. Any vehicle and load being operated pursuant to this paragraph for which the operator does not have the permit or a copy thereof in his possession, or for which a copy of the permit was not electronically transmitted to the department, shall be deemed not to have a permit and shall be penalized accordingly.

It shall not be necessary for the owner or operator of a vehicle to obtain a permit pursuant to this subsection if such owner or operator has obtained for his vehicle an annual special permit for vehicles transporting heavy equipment pursuant to Section 63-5-52.

(2) Before operating a vehicle where the size of the load being hauled is in excess of that permitted by law, the owner or operator of such vehicle shall obtain excess size authorization from the Transportation Department or proper local authority and an excess size permit from the Transportation Department. Such excess size permit shall be issued by the Mississippi Department of Transportation under the same provisions as are provided for the issuance of trip permits under Section 27-19-79, and it shall be obtained prior to the operation of such vehicle on the highways. The fee to be charged for such excess size permit shall be Ten Dollars ($10.00) per trip. Such permits may be issued for an extended period of time and must coincide with the expiration date and other provisions of the carrier's permit or authorization issued by the Transportation Department or local authority. The fee for such extended permits shall be based upon an annual fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per carrier. No permit shall be issued under this subsection if the issuance of the permit would violate federal law or would cause the State of Mississippi to lose federal aid funds. This subsection shall not apply to any tractor, road roller or road machinery used solely and specifically in road building or other highway construction or maintenance work or to any machinery or equipment operated on the highways or transported thereon in the course of normal farming activities, including cotton module transporters.

(3) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation may authorize certain carriers of property to issue overweight and/or oversize permits for vehicles owned or operated by such carriers, provided such carriers have blanket authorization from the Transportation Commission and also meet other requirements established by the Transportation Commission.

(4) The owner or operator of a vehicle hauling sand, gravel, wood chips, wood shavings, sawdust, fill dirt, agricultural products or unprocessed forestry products may apply to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for a harvest permit for the purpose of authorizing any such vehicles to operate on the highways in this state (other than the federal interstate system or those highways designated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation as not capable of carrying more than fifty-seven thousand six hundred fifty (57,650) pounds at the maximum gross weight specified in Section 63-5-33). Harvest permits may be issued and are valid to permit any such vehicle to be operated on a highway in this state that has been designated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation as not capable of carrying more than fifty-seven thousand six hundred fifty (57,650) pounds only if such vehicle operates in compliance with the provisions of Section 63-5-29(3)(b). A fee of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) shall be charged for each permit issued. The permit shall be in the form of a decal which shall be affixed to each permitted vehicle on the upper left corner of the windshield on the driver's side. Each permit shall expire one (1) year from its date of issue. The fees collected under this subsection shall be deposited into a special fund that is created in the State Treasury. Monies in the fund shall be allocated and distributed quarterly, beginning September 30, 1994, to each of the counties of the state on an equal basis. Monies distributed to the counties under this subsection shall be deposited in each county's road and bridge fund and may be expended, upon approval of the board of supervisors, for any purpose for which county road and bridge fund monies lawfully may be expended. This subsection (4) shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 2009.

(5) Any owner or operator who has met the requirements set by the Mississippi Transportation Commission may defer payment of permits issued by the department until the end of the current month. If full payment is not received by the twentieth of the following month, there may be added as damages to the total amount of the delinquency or deficiency the following percentages: ten percent (10%) for the first offense; fifteen percent (15%) for the second offense and twenty-five percent (25%) for the third and any subsequent offense. Upon the third offense, the department may suspend the privilege to defer payment. The balance due shall become payable upon notice and demand by the department.

(6) The permit fee monies collected under this section, except as provided for in subsection (4) of this section, shall be deposited into the State Highway Fund for the construction, maintenance and reconstruction of highways and roads of the State of Mississippi or the payment of interest and principal on bonds authorized by the Legislature for construction and reconstruction of highways.

(7) The department may waive the permits, taxes and fees set forth in this section whenever a motor vehicle is operated upon the public highways in this state in response to an emergency, a major disaster or the threat of a major disaster.

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SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.